For the second game in a row, both at the expense of the Calgary Flames, Jamie Benn got things started quickly. On the first shot of the night, just 26 seconds into the contest, Benn launched a wrist shot that sailed over Miikka Kiprusoff, one that he’d surely like to have back. The Stars, mostly Benn, continued to pound Kiprusoff with shots, but he turned them away. When the Stars got themselves in penalty trouble 5:51 into the period, the Flames converted. Olli Jokinen was open in the slot and put a shot right past Kari Lehtonen. The teams would continue the shooting spree, with the final tally being 17-13 Stars after one period, but the score would remain 1-1. Obviously, Jamie Benn thought a 1-1 tie was unacceptable, so he went and scored 44 seconds into the second period, putting the Stars back up 2-1. But from there, things got positively insane. The Flames answered back halfway through the frame with two quick goals from Blake Comeau (off a horrendous Ribeiro turnover) and Mike Cammalleri. Mike Ribeiro made up for his boneheaded mistake at the 14:29 mark with a goal of his, tying the game at 3-3, but then the Flames went another role thanks to stupid mistakes and even stupider penalties. The Flames added two power play goals (from Mark Giordano and Alex Tanguay) in the final 3:02 of the second period to give them a sudden 5-3 lead heading into the final period. The Stars needed a quick goal to get back into the game and they got it from Philip Larsen 5:24 into the final period, bringing the score to 5-4. The intensity picked up for both sides but the game came down to the final minute, when the Stars pulled Lehtonen for the extra man advantage, but it was not enough. The Flames would take the 5-4 decision.
What It Means:
Let me rant a little bit about discipline. In my humble opinion, the Stars lost this game because of their own incessant stupidity. The rash of second period penalties cost the Stars the game, plain and simple. Two straight power play goals in the less than three minutes? When the game was tied? Inexcusable, unbelievable stupidity. Where’s the discipline on this team? I recall Sheldon Souray saying that the team needed to work on it’s discipline, especially after what happened on Saturday afternoon, when the Stars played the Flames at home. Well, Sheldon, I’m sure you meant well but your words fell on deaf ears. There was absolutely, positively no discipline in the final minutes of that second period, the single most crucial period of the game. It’s just ridiculous. The Stars should have won this game, and instead they’re likely to find themselves out of the number three seed by the end of the night. They’ve went and made things that much more difficult for themselves for their remaining games. Something better change in that locker room or this team is going to kick themselves right out of the playoffs with their boneheaded mistakes and complete lack of discipline. Here’s some game notes, because I don’t feel like talking about anything else:
- Eric Nystrom was injured early in the first period with what was termed a lower body injury (likely a cut) and did not return to the game.
- Steve Ott tied his career high in assists with his 27th of the year.
- Jamie Benn tied Loui Eriksson for second on the team in goal scoring with his 25th and 26th of the year. That’s two straight two goal games.
The Stars will stay in Alberta, heading to Edmonton to face the Oilers on Wednesday night. The Oilers are at the bottom of the NHL once again. I don’t feel like anything needs to be said. If the Stars lose this one there’s simply no excuse. They better take the initiative and take care of business. It’s all on them from here on out.